'Twas a few weeks before the holidays when all through the town,
Not a single present was purchased, not a single gift found.
The shopping had started with attention and care,
In hopes that ideas would spring out of thin air.
That ain't gonna happen, no way and no how.
You need some assistance, right here and right now.
While the children are sleeping all snug in their beds,
Settle down with our gift guide and calm your heads.
On Main Street! On Higgins! And from local artists, too!
We've covered the bases, yes, even for you.
So flip through these pages, maybe grab a drink,
Plenty of suggestions follow even if our rhyming may stink.
Sin Cleanser Soap
Don't pretend your friends don't need this. Remember that night at Al's and Vic's that nobody talks about anymore? Remember that other night at the T&C when your friend ended up ... well, you know? And it was a Tuesday? We all learned some things that night that are probably illegal in most southern states. That's why this is the perfect gift for your good-hearted but wayward sinner. This bar of soap encourages them to rinse away their wrongdoings in an effort to regain a righteous path. And according to the packaging it "may be used in conjunction with confession for improved results." Hey, anything that helps.
How much: $10
Available at Bhavana, 101 East Broadway, Ste. B
Silk Road spices
For the home cook who wants to bone up on their foreign cuisines, Silk Road offers a series of spice blends from around the world, like ras el hanout, harissa, garam masala and five spice powder. The restaurant orders the ingredients whole, roasts them and grinds and blends everything in-house. The Spice of the Month deal includes a featured spice and two recipes from Chef Abe Risho to go along with it.
How much: $44 for four months of Spice of the Month, $88 for eight, $132 for a year
Available at silkroadcatering.com
Knot-tying book and rope
Knot tying is a survival skill that, over the years, has been used to help build structures, fasten a line to a hook, lash a spear to a shaft and even keep track of time. Nowadays, you at least need to know how to keep your canoe tied to the top of a car. This gift encourages your loved ones to learn proper knot-tying skills and offers them an easy way to perfect the craft. Make sure to suggest they keep it next to the toilet for regular practice.
How much: $8 for The Handbook of Knots and Knot Tying and $1 for a 4-foot section of climber's rope
Handbook available at The Book Exchange, 2335 Brooks St., and rope at The Trail Head, 221 E. Front St.
Wild House of Bees
Living in the Garden City means having friends who cultivate their own backyard gardens, flower beds and fruit trees. Help them attract important pollinators with a handmade solitary bee house for species that don't gather in hives. Made from mostly recycled materials like locally gathered plants and weeds, the hollow tubes encourage mason bees to nest in early spring and attract leafcutter bees in late summer.
How much: $50
Available at The Naturalist Mercantile, 131 E. Main St.
Work hard, play hard. Many Missoulians live by that motto, but we often forget one nasty little addendum: pain. As in, sore muscles, nagging knots and looming aches. In lieu of a personal massage therapist, check out the simple-looking but miracle-working Thera Cane. This green thing is like a back-scratcher on steroids, making it easy for anyone to go to work on their own hard-to-reach delts, traps and IT bands. A handy booklet comes with the purchase and details dozens of additional ways to mend what ails so your loved one can get back to working—and playing—hard.
How much: $38.95
Available at The Trail Head, 221 E. Front St.
Leave it to Butterfly Herbs, one of downtown Missoula's best stores, to stock something that features actual butterfly wings. These stunning pendants are made in Peru. (No butterflies were harmed in the making of these; we're told they died naturally.) The wings are placed between two pieces of glass and fashioned into a pendant, creating a natural and unique bit of bling. Consider this for someone who has everything because no two of these pendants are exactly alike. (Also available in earrings for roughly double the price.)
How much: $34-$68
Available at Butterfly Herbs, 232 N. Higgins Ave.
Breakfast with Santa
Some choose to wait in line in a crowded mall for a few fleeting moments on Santa's lap. But the savvier Christmas devotee might opt for a more culinary interaction with jolly old St. Nick. A Carousel for Missoula hosts a fun and affordable opportunity to do just that. On Dec. 21, treat someone to a special holiday breakfast complete with unlimited carousel rides. Santa rolls up at 9 a.m. via pony cart to collect those eleventh-hour gift requests, but the experience seems like a gift unto itself—one that comes complete with coffee. Alternatively, the Carousel is offering free rides Christmas Day from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
How much: $6 for adults, $4 for children over 3. Kids under 3 are free.
Available at A Carousel for Missoula, 101 Carousel Dr.
Handmade Himalayan salt lamp
Ancient cultures believed salt to be the gift of the gods. For hundreds of years, people have lauded its healing properties. The idea behind the salt lamp is that it emits negative ions, electrically charged particles that, according to lamp manufacturers, purify the air and promote calm, while also relieving migraine, allergy and respiratory problems. When touting the benefits of salt therapy, advocates point to Eastern European salt caves used to treat a variety of infirmities and the contentment of Himalayan salt miners. Such claims—and the fact that this lamp emits a warm orange glow—make us wish that someone would give us a salt lamp for Christmas.
How much: $29.99
Available at Rockin Rudy's, 237 Blaine St.
Compared to Viagra, which costs upwards of $25 per pill, Stiff Nights is inexpensive and, we're told, doesn't trigger some of the nasty after-effects that pharmaceuticals do, such as headaches. One Stiff Nights capsule lasts up to three days, with erections occurring only when the user is aroused. The product promises increased stamina and delayed ejaculation and is one of many herbal performance enhancing pills to gain popularity in recent years. "We have repeat customers for it," says one Adam & Eve staffer, "so it definitely works." Though effective, one should use caution when taking supplements. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2009 found that Stiff Nights, though branding itself all-natural, contained a chemical similar to the active ingredient in Viagra, which if mixed with certain prescription drugs can cause "dangerously low blood pressure." We're not deterred. If your sweetie is healthy, your holiday could be a little more fun by stuffing a stocking with Stiff Nights.
How much: $8.95
Available at Adam & Eve, 1401 West Broadway